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UPDATE PLUS BOUNTY --- how should I start working out, Paleo/Primal style?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 05, 2012 at 4:21 PM

It's time for me to start working out again.

I used to work out, before my Primal days. Long story short, I lost too much weight and got too weak after having an ulcer. After going Primal and gluten-free, the ulcer has healed, my digestion has greatly improved, I've gained weight back, and I feel much healthier. I'm ready to start working out again. The thing is, I'm not really sure how to go about it. When it comes to diet, I feel like I've got a good handle on that. But how I worked out SAD style, or when I was much younger, is probably not how I want to go about it now. My friends are all about P90X and chronic cardio, but I don't think that's the route for me.

UPDATE: So now I do want to lose a little weight (I've gained about ten pounds, yah yah). I know I can do that pretty easily by cutting out my sweet and gluten cheats that put a little extra on me in the first place, but I know it will be faster and better with some more focussed workouts and I want to increase my fitness level anyway. Also, my new job does gym membership reiumbursement so I'm all about that. I just joined a small gym (there are only two in my town) that has the usual weight machines, free weights, and cardio equipment.

BASICS: 5'5.5" currently about 155 lbs, no major health problems, high energy level fidgeter. I HATE jogging for no purpose, but I do like walking, running TO and FROM places, and the elliptical.

Can you wonderful hackers help me develop a workout plan? I'd really appreciate some help from some of you fitness gurus! SPECIFICS are great as I don't have a lot of experience with weight training and I don't want to just go to the gym with no plan and start playing around with weights! Any videos, charts, infographics are also great! Best and most specific answer gets the bounty. Ask any questions you need to determine how to best guide me and I will make it a point to answer promptly.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on May 26, 2013
at 08:04 PM

Truthfully, a year ago I couldn't do a pull-up either. but you got to start somewhere. Jump up onto the bar and pull yourself the final few inches, then come down slowly to full extension before dropping. do sets of those until you can start doing some real ones.

8d386bf2c5ba20fcc1a2a0c805b217c9

(743)

on May 26, 2013
at 02:57 AM

If you're super dedicated and have kinesthetic awareness, I say just get your own equipment and lift solo, unless you find out good stuff about that Crossfit gym. Good luck, gal.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on May 25, 2013
at 02:28 PM

I think there is a track at the park, actually, and if I ran super early in the morning before work it wouldn't kill me in the summer. The idea of me doing a single pull-up is cute, though, I am starting with some pathetic upper body strength :) Thank you, this might be a great way to start!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on May 25, 2013
at 02:25 PM

I wish I could afford a trainer! Unfortunately my company doesn't reimburse quite that much and I have some other high-ticket priorities right now.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on May 25, 2013
at 02:24 PM

Thank you! The gym thing is only a problem because I live in the boonies now and there are only two gyms in the town at all, both with pretty much the same equipment. The "city" (LMAO I can't even type that with a straight face) that I live near and work in has one Crossfit place, I think, but if it's not a good one I wouldn't have any alternatives. I may look more into Crossfit, though, and check out some Youtube videos or something to see more what it's like.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on October 07, 2012
at 02:54 AM

I like all the first paragraph! I love exercising that isn't working out - like playing tag or hide n seek in the park with my friends (though maybe without all the beer we usually have when we play these games). I could never run barefoot, though! I wear socks or flip flops at all times at the very least, even indoors. Plus, I have adorable feet and I don't want them to get all roughed up. I'll check out that MovNat thing, too!

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10 Answers

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2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on May 25, 2013
at 01:42 AM

Sunday -- Rest and Steak and Potatoes

Monday -- 4x200m AFAP, 2:30 min rest (as fast as possible) -- each week add one until you get to 8.

Tuesday -- Pull ups, dips, overhead press, renegade rows, Farmers Walk (with kettles), pushups

Wednesday -- Rest or Cross Train (20 - 30 minutes slow on a bike/ elliptical) or Walk for 45 minutes to an hour

Thursday -- Rest

Friday -- 6x100m AFAP, 1:30 rest -- add 2 each week until you reach 10-16

Saturday -- Russian twists (with kettles), Deadlifts, bench press, dumbbell snatches, inverted rows

Note: You will not be able to do this in week one. Start with Monday, Wednesday Friday for two weeks. Then add in the body weight workouts on Tuesday and Saturday, then the weighted exercises. Start slow, low weights, do what you can. YOU WILL BE SORE THE FIRST 2-3 WEEKS, THIS GOES AWAY*

If you don't have access to a track, sprint for 30 seconds (instead of 200m) and 15 seconds (instead of 100M)

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on May 25, 2013
at 02:28 PM

I think there is a track at the park, actually, and if I ran super early in the morning before work it wouldn't kill me in the summer. The idea of me doing a single pull-up is cute, though, I am starting with some pathetic upper body strength :) Thank you, this might be a great way to start!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on May 26, 2013
at 08:04 PM

Truthfully, a year ago I couldn't do a pull-up either. but you got to start somewhere. Jump up onto the bar and pull yourself the final few inches, then come down slowly to full extension before dropping. do sets of those until you can start doing some real ones.

3
Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

on October 05, 2012
at 05:33 PM

There is tons of advice out there about fitness, but the paleo world generally eschews chronic cardio and embraces lifting heavy things.

My "go to" bible is Doug McGuff's Body by Science http://www.bodybyscience.net/home.html/. If you do it his way would you certainly need a gym, but if you buy his book, it'll show you how to achieve the same thing with free weights which you can buy fairly easily and inexpensively these days.

What they all say is lift heavy, lift infrequently (once or twice a week) & get in short sessions (7-30 mins). If you read their stuff, it'll become quite clear, quite quickly.

The fact is, if you only want to get stronger and healthier, then that's probably all you have to do, maybe some walking as well.

If you're a fidget you might choose to do something else, even a lot more. That'll be your choice, but it won't accelerate the process. You need to recover to build muscle and strength.

If you can't afford even the weights, then bodyweight exercise is the way to go. The advantage of weights is you can add just a little at a time, adding one more press-up can be quite a big deal if you're starting from a low base.

Good luck whatever you choose

2
Ee2c03bbe9c17e4b2e4a0f99457e279a

(120)

on October 06, 2012
at 06:29 PM

Walking, running, climbing, crawling, lifting, balancing are all very primal exercises. You can do them outdoors, in parks, forests & urban environments.

If you hate running maybe try going barefoot. You might find it more interesting. Pilates & yoga you can do at home with youtube. If your a high energy person try fitting in smaller workouts throughout the day rather than one session.

There are plenty of ways to train without spending money. Try checking out some MovNat videos for inspiration.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on October 07, 2012
at 02:54 AM

I like all the first paragraph! I love exercising that isn't working out - like playing tag or hide n seek in the park with my friends (though maybe without all the beer we usually have when we play these games). I could never run barefoot, though! I wear socks or flip flops at all times at the very least, even indoors. Plus, I have adorable feet and I don't want them to get all roughed up. I'll check out that MovNat thing, too!

2
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 06, 2012
at 12:52 AM

I havent gotten healthy enough to start yet, but I like the sound of sissons prescription - move slowly alot (loads and loads of walking, slow swimming etc), sprint once per week (tabata), heavy lifting 1-2 per week.

Movnat and such sound cool to, but hard to access. (Running, climbing, lifting, balancing, jumping, martial arts)

I guess I wouldnt have a clue really, but I started doing some sprints and long distance walking before I got sick, and it felt great.

1
91451db3488201f51e85e6a69a6e0f89

(198)

on May 25, 2013
at 12:18 AM

Idk how this community feels about this person, so I may be sticking my neck out, but I downloaded Gain Fitness's Shockwave Protocol (only on iPhone right now), and I love it. It's sort of a bodybuilding/strength training hybrid. It's the first thing I've ever done where I have substantial, noticeable changes in my muscle mass and definition, and where I actively start to feel like I look good. I haven't lost a ton of scale weight, but there's no doubt that my body composition is totally different, and belly fat is decreasing steadily.

1
2edfcc5c8044bbb4f22ba6ea4289f592

(1398)

on May 24, 2013
at 11:44 PM

I would suggest you find a good trainer and begin a smart strength training program. Increasing your strength in the basic human movements (push, pull, squat) will do more for enhancing your body, life, and overall awesomeness than any other exercise intervention. It is hard to give specifics without working closely with you. I have worked with several women in beginning a smart strength training program, with great results. A website you might check out is girlsgonestrong.com. I would start you off with 2 strength training sessions a week, of about a half hour each, each doing 2 of the 4 core lifts. Other than that, I would suggest you walk for a total of an hour every day. Hike, walk your dog, just walk for no reason, whatever. If you were fit enough, I would suggest you progress to sprints (maybe 8x15s 2x a week).

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on May 25, 2013
at 02:25 PM

I wish I could afford a trainer! Unfortunately my company doesn't reimburse quite that much and I have some other high-ticket priorities right now.

1
8d386bf2c5ba20fcc1a2a0c805b217c9

(743)

on May 24, 2013
at 06:17 PM

You should do a blend of high-intensity and low-intensity training. Obviously, you said you like walking to and from places so that'll fulfill your low-intensity requirement.

To fulfill the high-intensity requirement, you can strength training, kettlebells, sprinting, or circuits/metcons.

If you want to get into strength, I suggest you pick up a copy of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd Edition by Mark Rippetoe. He's the former barbell expert for Crossfit HQ. Honestly, with this book, you'll be set. Just get access to a gym with barbells, or get your own set, and use either a video-recorder or a workout buddy to help you with technique judgement.

Sprinting is easy. Go find somewhere suitable for running (pavement, field, track, beach) and sprint. I don't have any books that teach running/sprinting technique, but it might be a good idea to look for materials.

Kettlebells are fun because they're used speed-strength/ballistic exercises, along with difficult stability exercises. There are lots of videos online of RKC instructors showing you the movements.

And finally, for circuits, there's crossfit.com. Hahaha.

If you've got extra income to burn ($100-$200 per month), you can go find a legit gym to join, or a legit coach to work with. RKC instructors are great for kettlebells, and also have knowledge on other things (strength, balance, etc.). There are these hardcore gyms that work with powerlifters, athletes, and others that'll use a variety of tools (barbells, kettlebells, running, strongman) to improve their clients fitness. The coaches that work there are usually former athletes and stuff like that. Or, you can join a Crossfit gym - but I must add, don't just go to the first one you see. Research them and make sure their coaches are good. The best Crossfit gyms incorporate different programs for different goals - strength, endurance, speed, gymnastics/bodyweight, or plain ol' metabolic conditioning. The ones that just have everyone do the same metcon WOD might be newbie gyms

Research, research, research.

EDIT: I'd also like to add in MovNat and "natural" bodyweight training. Climbing, pushing, crawling, lifting, throwing, running... that stuff's super "primal" and can be done in your backyard.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on May 25, 2013
at 02:24 PM

Thank you! The gym thing is only a problem because I live in the boonies now and there are only two gyms in the town at all, both with pretty much the same equipment. The "city" (LMAO I can't even type that with a straight face) that I live near and work in has one Crossfit place, I think, but if it's not a good one I wouldn't have any alternatives. I may look more into Crossfit, though, and check out some Youtube videos or something to see more what it's like.

8d386bf2c5ba20fcc1a2a0c805b217c9

(743)

on May 26, 2013
at 02:57 AM

If you're super dedicated and have kinesthetic awareness, I say just get your own equipment and lift solo, unless you find out good stuff about that Crossfit gym. Good luck, gal.

1
E40b2fc9ddcf702bab9d61d28b8c8440

(505)

on October 06, 2012
at 03:49 AM

I joined eplifefit.com ($20/month) to meet very similar goals and am very happy with their program.

1
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 05, 2012
at 05:55 PM

i usually stick to walking and High intensity interval training. i run when i am well, but i'm sick so haven't been able to since january. my favorite HIIT workouts are on bodyrock.tv. they post videos a few times a week of workouts under 20 minutes. it's really fun and different every time.

1
A3a4696c919e916ec971691559e9c942

(2043)

on October 05, 2012
at 04:56 PM

"You are your own gym" is a cheap app for ipad/iphone and has tons of bodyweight exercises.

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